There are many different forms of financial assistance available to businesses. There are local state and federal opportunities that range from grants, to low-interest loans to refundable tax credits. Whatever you do, do not “chase the money.” In other words, determine what the best business moves are for you and your company and then see if financial assistance fits your needs. If you would like help understanding all your options, feel free to contact SCOPED for assistance. But before doing so, ask yourself these questions:
Questions to Ask
(1) Is my business plan up to date? Most funders and lenders will require an updated business plan with recent and accurate financial projections. If your business plan needs some freshening up or you don’t have a business plan, start here.
(2) What am I going to do? Have a good understanding of what you plan to do. Are you expanding your building? Are you buying equipment? Are you adding new jobs? You spend some time doing your homework so that you can answer detailed questions about your plans. How much more square footage and what will it cost? How much is your new equipment and what will the impact be on your ability to produce revenue? How many new jobs? What will the new salaries be? What skills will you be looking for? How will the new employees make your business successful?
(3) What is my “gap”? Most financial assistance programs look for ways to fill a financial gap. In other words, but-for the financial assistance you would not be able to expand and grow. Most financial assistance (with the exception of loans) will only cover up to about 20% of new, capital expenses. Therefore, you will need to raise the other 80%–through cash equity and debt—in order to bring your plans to fruition. This is why having a good business plan with accurate financial projections is key.
Once you’ve answered these three questions, you are ready to discuss your options with the staff at SCOPED. There are grants, tax credits and low-interest loan options to consider.